Faroe Islands-based acclaimed Viking metal collective TÝR returns with their ninth full-length studio album, “Battle Ballads”set for release on April 12 via Metal Blade Records.
When TÝR teamed up with the Symphony Orchestra of the Faroe Islands on February 8, 2020, to record the double-disc/DVD release “A Night At The Nordic House”founding frontman Heri Joensen was thrilled to bring together two of the music forms he loves most — folk and classical — into his band’s unorthodox form of music. But at the time, he couldn’t have imagined what a profound impact the collaboration would have on his musical vision, and how much it would influence and inform the album he would write a few years later.
“There’s a reason classical music is called classical,” joensen says. “It’s the classical way of doing it. And it creates these epic sounds that fit in perfectly with the kind of metal we do in TÝR. So, there’s full orchestration on all of the new songs.”
The follow-up to the band’s 2019’s powerful progressive folk metal album “Hello”the new “Battle Ballads” is aptly named — a crushing, soaring, batch of classically embellished songs that conjure images of galloping steeds, clashing swords, and hard-fought victories. And, as if it needs to be stated, the title “Battle Ballads” has nothing in common with the lighter-raising songs so prevalent in the 1980s.
“There are definitely two versions of a ballad,” he clarifies joensen. “A lot of people think of hair metal, when they think of ballads. We are looking at ballads here in the Medieval sense. Apart from a couple of softer parts on the album, this is very much straight heavy metal with some folk and classical influences. I’m not sure what exactly one would call it — power metal, Viking metal, folk metal. It still fits in very much with what we do, only it feels bigger and more like these big soundscapes.”
So much so TÝR would have liked to write, rehear, and record with a symphony, schedule conflicts made it impossible to have the band and classical musicians to be in the same place at the same time. So the band did the next best thing. With joensen at the helm, they wrote ten thunderous songs for “Battle Ballads”then the bandleader sent the compositions to a Danish colleague Lars Winter living in England, who added the orchestral samples, paying close attention to the tone and tempo of the songs so the violins, violas, cellos, woodwinds, and horns fit complemented the traditional rock instruments. When the samples were all in place the album sounded impressive, but the tones weren’t perfectly blended. SW, TÝR sent the album to veteran producer Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, AMARANTHE) in Denmark to put together the final mix.
There’s no escaping the masterful blend of melody and savagery on “Battle Ballads”. The opening track “Hammered” funnels infectious riffs and searing licks through a variety of rhythm and tempo changes, “Unwandered Ways” is a triumphant, upbeat blend of vocal harmonies, joyous folk hooks, and dense, driving guitars, and features a solo break that demonstrates guitarist Hans Hammer‘s acrobatic ability to shred. And “Battle Ballad” is a trample to the abyss, fueled by hammering beats, fleet-fingered guitars, orchestral swell and chugging guitar breaks.
In advance of the release of “Battle Ballads”, TÝR unveils the record’s first single, “Axes”and its accompanying video.
joensen comments: “‘Axes’ It starts with a battle horn followed by a fast melodic and symphonic guitar riff introducing the progression and main theme of the song. ‘Game of Thrones’-ish lyrics of gory and glorified hand-to-hand battle of Viking times, told from a first-person perspective. The verse is slow and heavy with a gritty, yet theatrical and melodic voice. The chorus is fast with a singalong choir, alternating vocally between intricate and brutally simple phrasings. It’s a short face-melting metal song based on a single melodic idea.”
“Battle Ballads” features the stunning artwork of by Gyula Havancsak and will be released on CD and digital formats as well as vinyl.
“Battle Ballads” track listing:
02. Unwandered Ways
03. Dragons Never Die
05. Torkils Døtur
06. Vælkomnir Føroyingar
09. Battle Ballad
10. Cause Latronum Normannorum
In celebration of the release of “Battle Ballads”, TÝR will return to North American stages this spring for the “Battle Ballads” headlining tour. The tour will begin on March 28 in Baltimore, Maryland and make its way through two dozen cities, coming to close on April 26 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Support will be provided by TROLLFEST, ÆTHER REALM and THE DREAD CREW OF ODDWOOD. The tour marks TÝR‘s first North American run since 2019.
Heri Joensen – vocal, guitar
Hans Hammer – guitar
Gunnar Helmer “Gunz” Thomsen -bass
Tadeusz “Tad” Rieckmann – drums
Photo by Gaui H